Sunlight and water are vital to a plant's health and longevity. The process of photosynthesis--which ensures that a plant converts light and water to energy--is simple to grasp as a concept, yet involves various stages in its workings. One stage of photosynthesis is osmosis working in plant cells--and this is a crucial key in understanding plant photosynthesis.
The Dictionary of Botany defines plant osmosis as the process by which water is moved from areas where the plant initially absorbs water to other areas where it is most needed. An example of plant cell osmosis is the movement of water from a plant's root system up through the stem and into the leaves, fruit and flowers.
Termed the photochemical stage of photosynthesis, plant osmosis of water ensures that the plant can use energy from sunlight absorbed through its cells on surfaces such as leaves. Light energy, states Biology Online, "splits" water cells during the photochemical stage of photosynthesis, enabling the water transported by plant osmosis to provide energy to keep the plant healthy and alive.
Osmosis in plant cells has several key features that are important to examine in order to understand how the process works. Root pressure, for one, affects the amount of osmosis done in plant cells, pushing water through plant cells until pressure is equalized throughout the plant. As osmotic water travels from the roots up the plants, it passes through the xylem tubes, which gently cause osmosis of water into plant cells where it is needed, according to Biology Online.
The stomata of a plant--where plant cells transpire, or "sweat" out water--can cause a rapid osmotic pull of water to maintain healthy water pressure throughout a plant's cells. Osmosis in plant cells is closely tied with the turgor, or water concentration in the stomata. If there is high turgor present in the stomata, water transported by osmosis will be transpired from the plant. If too little water concentration exists in the stomata of a plant, the stomata will close to protect a plant's healthy cells from losing precious water, especially during hot days.
Not only is the working of osmosis in plant cells essential to keep the plant itself healthy, it also affects the environment and its inhabitants. The stomata of a plant, as previously mentioned, are areas where water can be rapidly pushed out during osmosis. Stomata in a healthy plant are responsible for the intake of carbon dioxide, and when osmosis of plant cells opens the stomata, they absorb more carbon dioxide, keeping air cleaner for other forms of life, such as people, birds and other animals that share the earth with their green companions.